Rabbi who groped Israeli soldier sentenced to jail

By Jennifer Lipman, May 13, 2011
Rabbi Gavriel Bidany

Rabbi Gavriel Bidany

The rabbi who was convicted of groping a female IDF officer on a flight to New York will spend two months behind bars.

Father-of-11 Gavriel Bidany was arrested after the woman, 23, accused him of touching her underneath her airline blanket without her consent.

Last week a court heard that she was sleeping and woke to find him fondling her groin area and groping her breast. When she confronted him, he claimed he was sleeping.

Yesterday Bidany was sentenced to 60 days in a federal prison.

In his defence Bidany claimed that he never touched the woman. But the prosecution said her account of events was "wholly believable" and he was convicted of assault.

Assistant US Attorney David Sarratt said that Bidany's conduct was shocking not least because he chose a victim who appeared "much younger" than her age.

According to the New York Post the victim gave a statement which was read by the prosecutor. In it, she said: "I lost, in a most human way, my most precious thing - my innocence."

Last updated: 1:33pm, May 13 2011